- Pronunciation: BRO-ra
- Meaning: Name of the town coming from old Norse meaning “River with a bridge”
- Founded: 1819
- Closed: 1983
- Region: Highlands
- Status: Mothballed
- Owner: Diageo
- Production Capacity: N/A
What became Brora distillery was originally known as Clynelish and opened in 1819. In 1968 when what is now known as Clynelish was opened the name of the original Clynelish was changed to Brora. For around four years the old distillery produced heavily peated whisky for blending due to a drought on Islay which decreased the islands production. In 1973 the distillery resumed a style of lightly peated Highland whisky, with rumours that some heavily peated malt did run through the stills at times. In 1983 the distillery was mothballed and has stood silent ever since.
As with all of Diageo’s distilleries there were no less than 10 Brora bottling under the Rare Malt banner, ranging from 20 year old to 24 year old. The Brora's bottled in this series range from 1972, 1975, 1977 and 1982. All of the 1972 releases were bottled in 1995 and typically fetch the most interest.
Following the demand for closed distilleries Diageo has continually released a Brora as part of their annual ‘special releases’ since 2002, now in its 12th year. The majority of these releases have been 30 years old, with 2008 seeing a 25 year old appear, latterly the age has grown and they have settled for a 35 year old for the time being.
As with most long closed, highly drinkable malts, independently bottled examples have risen in value due to the official releases not being able to meet demand. Gordon and Macphail for many years released Brora from 1972 and 1982. These 1972 releases have received great acclaim.
As another whisky for the endangered species list, hunt it down while it’s still here. Given the short period of time that Brora existed, the demand is certainly increasing at the moment, particularly for the bottles distilled in the early 1970’s, prior to the reduction in peating level. If you find or see one of these, make note and start saving!